Family, friends remember Ellen Revelle

By Dave Schwab and Nicole Reino

Staff Writers

Ellen Revelle, member of the Scripps family and widow of UCSD founder Roger Revelle, died yesterday of a massive stroke at Thornton Hospital. She was 98.

Mrs. Revelle was born July 31, 1910, in La Jolla. She was the grand-niece of Ellen Browning Scripps, who helped found Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Mrs. Revelle graduated from Scripps College in June 1931, and she and her husband joined the colony at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where Roger eventually became the director.

Roger and Mrs. Revelle's four children, Mary Revelle Paci, Anne Revelle Shumway, Carolyn Revelle and William Roger "Bill" Revelle, remember their mother as a person of many and varied interests.

"She listened to opera and classical music and she loved theater and was an active member of a playreading group," said daughter Mary.

"Her philanthropic efforts sprang from her interests," said daughter Carolyn.

Along with making major donations to the La Jolla Playhouse, Mrs. Revelle served on the board for the San Diego Symphony.

"Our mother was brought up believing one should be a steward for future generations," said son William. "She cared about La Jolla and wanted to make La Jolla a better place, and she did that by being involved in various civic organizations."

Mrs. Revelle, with her daughter, Mary, donated the 1904 Wisteria Cottage to the La Jolla Historical Society last July.

"It's hard to express the level of sadness everyone at the La Jolla Historical Society is experiencing with Ellen Revelle's passing," said John Bolthouse, executive director of La Jolla Historical Society. "This is a truly enormous loss to the entire community. When reflecting on how meaningful Ellen's contributions to the society and the entire community of La Jolla have been over the years, one can't help but be inspired by the legacy she's left us. Ellen Revelle was probably the greatest friend the La Jolla Historical Society ever had and we will cherish her memory for a very long time."

Along with supporting the Historical Society, arts and other community groups, Anne said her mother was also very active politically right up until the end of her life.

Mrs. Revelle supported President Obama and worked at Democratic headquarters in La Jolla until failing health forced her to work at home.

"She wrote thank you letters to volunteers," said Anne, adding her mother was a warm and elegant person. "She was definitely a lady," she said. "She was charming and witty. She was an amazing woman with incredible energy."


A memorial service will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. May 10 at Sherwood Auditorium at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, 700 Prospect St., La Jolla. In lieu of flowers, the Revelle family suggests donations in Mrs. Revelle's memory to UCSD's Scripps Institution of Oceanography or Scripps College in Claremont, Calif.


The Bishop's School:

"The Bishop's School community is saddened at the passing of Ellen Revelle, the great-niece of School Founders Ellen Browning Scripps and Eliza Virginia Scripps. The Revelle and Scripps family have played an important role in the history of The Bishop's School, especially at this moment in time as the School observes the 100th anniversary of its founding in 1909. The Bishop's School is proud to count Mrs. Revelle's daughters among its alumnae."



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